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Plateau Govt swears-in Justice Dabit as Acting President of Customary Court of Appeal

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Governor Simon Lalong (right) and the newly sworn-in Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Dabit

The Plateau State government has sworn-in Hon. Justice Sati Patrick Dabit as Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal, and charged him to “resist any attempt to compromise his integrity and that of the court” and to abhor any act that is against the constitution and dictates of his professional calling.

Governor Simon Lalong disclosed this on Wednesday at Government House Jos, during the swearing-in ceremony of the Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal.

According to Lalong, his experience as a lawyer, a former legislator and now governor, has strengthened his belief that the sanctity, integrity and independence of the judiciary must be defended at all costs, as anything to the contrary will lead to chaos, anomie and instability. 

The governor asserted that, “Indeed, this occasion opens a new chapter for the Customary Court of Appeal, considering the fact that last, Friday, we closed the previous chapter, when we held a well-attended Valedictory Court Session for the former President of the Court, Hon. Justice Julia Asabe Kyentu, who retired after attaining the mandatory age of 65 years. 

“As I said at that event, the judiciary remains a strong pillar of the Nigerian society and of its democracy. As such, the people will continue to look up to judicial officers, especially judges for justice, equity and the triumph of truth over falsehood,” he stressed.

The governor further stated, thus: “That is why we must take today’s event with all the seriousness it deserves as the actions and inactions of the Acting President and his staff will affect the people of the state and even beyond, as well as shape the confidence they have in the court, knowing fully that this position carries with it huge responsibilities,” and called on all to “uphold His Lordship, Hon. Justice Dabit, in prayers as he discharges this burden faithfully, according to the laws of our land and the oath of office he has taken.” 

Governor Lalong stretched further that, “With his experience and record of service, I have no doubt that he will perform well and push the frontiers of justice delivery in our state as well as continue the path of reform of the judiciary for more effectiveness.

“Government is aware of the challenges of the judiciary, and there is  the need to ensure that it is transformed to be in tandem with the realities of the day and the yearnings of the people, particularly in ensuring quick dispensation of justice,” Lalong stated. 

He assured that his administration will continue to work with the Judiciary and Legislature “to ensure that our courts are made conducive for judges and staff as well as all those, who come to access justice or other services.” 

The governor explained that, “The experience we have garnered from COVID-19 has further reinforced the need for us to invest towards digitizing our courts and also ensuring that ICT platforms are available for use to further enhance the efficiency of our courts.” 

While congratulating the Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Dabit, the governor assured the entire judiciary that “they, as executive, shall do everything within their power to foster cordial working relationship for the benefit of our people. Our doors are always open. 

“You have built a good name and reputation over the years and such cannot be jeopardized at this critical moment when God has elevated you to a higher pedestal of service,” he urged.

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